The best Thai Soup Recipe..

My friend Eunice found this one.  When it comes to spicy her family likes it hot.  My family likes some heat but not so much that you can’t feel your lips:) You will need to have a few items in your pantry that you might not normally stock but so worth it! They have been staples in our house for awhile now. Check out my “pantry” list for details.  I made this soup last week. It really hits the spot after snowshoeing or X-country skiing or any other winter outdoor activity. We have another month at least of winter.  Don’t rush away the days, embrace them. Get  outside , get moving… and before you go out, make a double batch of this soup. You will be glad you did.  Yum!

 Thai Soup (double to make full pot)

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 a red bell pepper, diced

2 cups sliced mushrooms (could leave these out or replace with boy choyor carrots)

4 cups vegetable stock

2 Tbsp. Gourmet Garden™ Lemon Grass herb paste (the stuff in the tube or the real thing, if you can find it) ***Could substitute with 1 tbsp lemon juice & 1tsp fresh grated  ginger

1 tsp. fish sauce

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 can lite  coconut milk (398ml)

2 tsp. red curry paste

1 1/2 tsp. Sambal Oelek chili paste

2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste (to taste)

½- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (depends how thick you want the soup)

2 cups cooked rice ( brown rice or try a mix of long grain with wild rice or black thai rice for some added texture)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or basil leaves shredded for garnish

Lime for garnish

Instructions:

Cook rice and set aside (or use left-over cooked rice).

Heat large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. oil. When hot, add mushrooms and cook until golden and tender. Remove to a plate. In same pot, add remaining 1 Tbsp. oil and heat. Add onion, red pepper, (if using carrots or bok choy add here)and saute just until softened. Return mushrooms to pot. Add broth  and heat through. Add lemon grass paste, fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce and simmer 5 minutes. Add coconut milk, turn heat to low, then cover and simmer 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, add curry paste, Sambal Oelek, tomato paste, 2 Tbsp. water and cornstarch and mix until incorporated. Stir into soup until combined and heat until soup simmers, thickens very slightly and has a velvety appearance. Add cooked rice, cover and simmer 5 minutes.  (You can also add more curry paste, tomato paste and/or Sambal Oelek to taste at this point, as well).

Pour soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, parsley or basil leaves and serve with additional Sambal Oelek for those who prefer a hotter soup.

 

 

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Juicing and a Friday morning tradition…

As promised in my last post, I was going to talk about Juicing.  It is something I have thought alot about, read alot about and spent considerable amounts of time researching juicers. I even invited myself over to a friend’s place with a friend, who has juiced alot and had her demo her juicer and favorite juice combinations. It was impressive but seemed like too much work. Too much time to clean the machine, too noisy,  too much waste, (the pulp) and some of the “healthiest” combos just didn’t taste that good.  But…I accidently came across a juicer in a new favorite kitchen store here in Kelowna(Lakehouse) where they were making samples available to customers. Delicious and simple, apple and carrot. By the time she showed me how easy it was to clean and how quiet it was I was sold. I splurged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXTEPUggyuw

Now I realize most of you won’t be running out to buy a juicer anytime soon, but I have been juicing now for a little over 3 weeks. First thing in the morning, before coffee or breakfast and  before my workout,  I quickly juice varying combinations of fruit and vegetables.and we each have about 4-8 ounces. I am not going to say that I notice any great new burst of energy or better skin or any other noticeable health improvement yet, but I do feel good about getting a quick shot of nutrition into my body first thing in the morning.

Speaking of first thing in the morning..we’ve all heard it said “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. I really do believe this to be true. We have kept it pretty simple with a standard repeat every morning of the week except Fridays.  I decided about 9 years ago that Friday would be our special treat breakfast alternating between pancakes, waffles and French Toast.

I found a new pancake recipe, my search was inspired by a local restaurant.  Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes. A delicious break from the norm. We all love Fridays, enough to come back home for:)

BLUEBERRY CORNMEAL PANCAKES

 ½ cup whole spelt flour

2/3 cup fine cornmeal

2 tbsp coarse stone-ground cornmeal

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp brown sugar

¼ cup plain greek 0%fat yogurt

1 ½ cups soymilk + 1 ½ tbsp vinegar added

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

1 egg, bring to room temperature

1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

toasted pecans (optional)

Coconut oil for cooking

 

Measure the dry ingredients and stir them together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl lightly whisk the egg, then add the yogurt, the “soured soy milk” and the oil.

 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients gently until just mixed. Do not overmix. Let the batter rest for at least 5-10 minutes. (Don’t skip the last 2 steps!) It will be a bit runny.

 

Heat a griddle on medium-high heat. Brush just a little coconut oil on pan. Use about 1/3 cup per pancake and cook until  a few small bubbles appear on the surface, drop  a few blueberries into the batter, When  the edges look a little dry, flip the pancake over and cook just a little longer..the berries will begin to release their juice. Serve topped with a few more blueberries if you like, a small handful of toasted peacans  or just a little pure maple syrup.  Delicious!

Heart felt gratitude..

In keeping with my last post on the theme of gratitude…thankfulness,  and a new year’s resolve to be more thankful you really have to watch this inspirational clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?feature=player_embedded&v=nj2ofrX7jAk

And… Winter adds a whole new challenge to staying active, especially this year where here in Kelowna we have had alot of snow.  We have been getting outdoors often this winter hiking and snowshoeing. It has been amazing.  The photo is from the top our latest hike, lots of snow, blowing and cold but a spectacular view (depending on how you look at it) It might look grey to some but through a “thankfulness” lens,  I am in awe of the beauty of winter, even the white and the grey that dominates the landscape. It was hard work, uphill for a good hour or more with good friends to chat with along the way.

I hope you are all finding ways to stay active this winter. If not, I would encourage you to start something. Get outside if you can. There is something incredibly peaceful about spending time in nature.

Next post: What about juicing?